By Jim Schutze
By Rachel Watts
By Lauren Drewes Daniels
By Anna Merlan
By Lee Escobedo
By Eric Nicholson
DISD administrators and board members, clearly not eager to prolong a fight with Channel 8, also declined any public comment. They referred all questions to principal Stiles, who expressed his dismay at the entire episode. "We're a public institution," he told BeloWatch. "We deal with people on a very direct and ethical level. We expect them to handle themselves the same way.
Stiles questioned the purpose of such an undercover investigation--as well as its execution. "They were trying to report that security wasn't working at the school; that's just not the case." DISD has openly acknowledged that its metal detectors aren't foolproof, and serve as only part of the schools' security system. There was no need for an undercover investigation, says Stiles. "All they had to do was ask, and we would have let them in."
Sparks also shouldn't have lied, says Stiles--and should have identified himself after being caught. "He's representing Channel 8; he needs to know how to handle himself."
By the time a Channel 8 official and attorney had arrived at the school, Stiles had already released Sparks to rejoin Williams--and the equipment was at DISD's Ross Avenue headquarters. DISD officials later viewed the videotape before returning it and the camera to the station.
DISD sources tell BeloWatch it includes a recording of Williams and Sparks praying together in the car before he entered the high school, seeking divine aid for their mission.
The episode raises an assortment of ethical questions. Was the Sunset probe a fishing expedition? Is it appropriate for a journalist to lie? Why didn't Sparks come clean after his cover was blown?
These are all questions which the story that results will begin to answer. Officials at Channel 8 told BeloWatch they will address the others--after their piece is broadcast.
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